They Are What We Teach

Grace - Los Angeles, California
Entered on June 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children

I am an ironic person. I’m sensitive, impatient, selfish, and at times immature, but at the same time I love mentoring children. Small things like giving them a hug or helping them learn a song means a lot for the little ones. I love the fact that children are pure and so quick in absorbing any information given to them. This is why I think that what I teach them now, will affect how they will act in the future. I strongly believe in the power of shaping the future—by mentoring and teaching the children.

“We are what we eat,” my chemistry teacher often told our class. The first time my teacher mentioned this statement, I thought about how true it is. This quote became one of my favorite in my collection of intelligent aphorisms. Now, this is what I advise the kids I teach in a Saturday program at my church, and what I know these kids tell their friends and siblings. Sometimes when I watch over the children as they play, I see how they mimic what I do. As a role model, I often try to avoid making mistakes or act too rashly in front of the children, but because I’m human, I can’t help it. Once I tried to carry one of the heaviest babies in our church up the stairs. As I took each step, the pressure in my arms increased. Sweat rolled down across the tip of my nose, and I strained to look strong in front of the innocent faces that looked up at me in awe. “Can you do it, teacher?” one of the kids asked daringly. “Can I help?” another offered. “Can you carry me next?” a little girl asked, tugging at my sleeve. I groaned and smiled at the same time. When I finally got the baby to the top, I squished into one of the child-sized seats in the front row, using a piece of paper to fan myself. I’m glad that was over…for me. The following week, my role changed. As I was taking a child to the bathroom, I heard one of the boys shouting, “No, let me do it!” I didn’t mind though. They were probably fighting over reaching for the lights, but I was wrong. When I came out, I saw a girl half my size trying to carry the same heavy baby to the top. Her back was leaning as if she was about to fall, but she didn’t seem to mind. “Kaylin!” I yelled. All pairs of eyes looked directly at me. I rushed over to the girl and took the baby from her arms. “But teacher—” she started. “Nope. You are not going to take the baby upstairs until you are this tall.” I responded and raised an arm to my head. I again looked wistfully upon the girl and came up with a statement of my own: they are what we teach.